Thursday, December 1, 2016

Speckles and His New Home by Erich Rose Illustrated by Rose Anderson - REVIEWED

About the Book:
After moving into a new house with his family, Speckles is worried about being bored during the day while they are gone. The nearby forest is a great opportunity for exploration, but he finds himself alone and scared as it begins to get dark. Will he find his way back home?

My Thoughts:
We can have an adventure together.”

When Speckles' owner Ben talks about an adventure, it is only after Speckles experiences a few unexpected adventures of his own.  Erich Rose’s book is a tale that any dog owner will recognize!  Moving is as traumatic for animals as it is for humans.  Rose’s story chronicles Speckles’ perspective of a new home.  Changes ranging from space to sound become unsettling, and when Speckles finds himself alone, he resorts to a trick from his old home.  This trick leads the dog into a situation much more unsettling than his new home!

Children – especially those with pets of their own – will adore this book!  The pictures are whimsical and detailed and will allow the child to explore Speckles’ world as their caregiver reads of his adventures in his new home!  If there has been a move recently, this book becomes even more endearing!  I imagine that this story will open the door to many conversations between a parent and child as the family settles into a new home.


I was privileged to meet both the author and illustrator at the University bookstore in Auburn, and I look forward to following his career as an author.

About the Author:
Erich Rose enjoys telling stories to his sons and taking them on adventures. He decided that he would like to share these stories with others. Speckles and His New Home is the first. Erich lives in Opelika, Alabama, with his wife, Rebekah, and their three sons.

Monday, November 28, 2016

Thin Ice by Irene Hannon - REVIEWED


About the Book:

If Ginny Reed is still alive--who is the woman buried in her grave?
After losing her parents and her sister, Christy Reed has been mired in grief. Now, life is finally starting to feel normal again--until an envelope addressed in her sister's handwriting arrives in the mail. And the note inside claims she is still alive.

FBI Special Agent Lance McGregor, a former Delta Force operator, is assigned to reopen the case . . . but he's coming up with more questions than answers. Is Christy a pawn in a twisted cat-and-mouse game--or the target of a sinister plot? As Lance digs deeper, one thing becomes clear: someone in the shadows has a deadly agenda.

Bestselling author and three-time RITA Award winner Irene Hannon pulls out all the stops in this high-stakes thriller that races to a bone-chilling finish.

My Thoughts:


In other words, accept the hard realities and get on with it.”  (p. 59)

This sentence is a bit prophetic as far as Irene Hannon’s characters are concerned.  Thin Ice sets up a very tenuous situation between the two main characters.  They are forced to trust each other completely as they attempt to solve a situation that is based on….well, on not much. Christy Reed has endured more than her fair share of loss, and, it seems, that someone is determined to keep stringing her along a very cruel path of circumstances.  Sadly, there seems to be no apparent reason for all of this cruelty.

That’s where FBI agent Lance McGregor comes into the picture.  He is the one this bizarre case falls to, and he has to follow a series of very tenuous leads before he ever gets a break in the case.  In Hannon style, both Lance and Christy are magnetically drawn to one another as this mystery unfolds.  Either Hannon’s idea of romance is off the chart unrealistic or I’m a world class cynic – or maybe a combination of both – but the romantic attraction does not appeal.  But I can sort of skim past that and enjoy the complexity of the suspenseful part of plot!  But, if you enjoy hormonally driven reactions between folks, well, you’ll enjoy the combination of romance and suspense – this novel is loaded with both!


In true Hannon style, the culprit is hidden in plain sight, so the conclusion is very satisfying!  So pick up a copy for the reader on your gift list! The reader in your life will appreciate this gift! 


About the Author:
Irene Hannon is the bestselling author of more than fifty novels, including One Perfect SpringHope Harbor, and Sea Rose Lane, as well as the Private Justice and Men of Valor suspense series. Her books have been honored with three coveted RITA Awards from Romance Writers of America, two Carol Awards, two Reviewers' Choice Awards from RT Book Reviewsmagazine, a Retailers' Choice Award, three HOLT Medallions, two Booksellers' Best Awards, and a National Readers' Choice Award. She is also a two-time Christy Award finalist. Learn more at www.irenehannon.com.

Friday, November 25, 2016

Out: One Christian's Experience of Leaving the Gay Community by Bob Fife, Ron Hughes (With)- REVEIWED


About the Book:
Bob Fife was raised in a small Ontario town by a Christian mother and an unbelieving father. The tensions made for a dysfunctional home and an uneasy life. But nothing prepared Bob for being sexually molested by an older boy he trusted—or what happened in his heart afterward.


Out is the story of Bob's descent into homosexual practices and out again. His fascinating journey takes readers from the confusion of his teen years, to his marriage and fatherhood, to his discovery and embrace of the flamboyant Toronto gay scene. He describes abandoning his young family in order to fulfill his same-sex desires, taking him to London, Amsterdam, Berlin, Barcelona, Provincetown, Key West, and San Francisco. Over a decade later, an unexpected visit from his college-aged son caused Bob to confront the consequences of his indulgences and begin to seek change.
Today, Bob has been out of his gay lifestyle for over twenty years. He has reconnected with the church, built and maintained healthy, nonsexual relationships, and healed his relationship with his son. For those who want a way to deal with their same-sex attractions, not celebrate them, Bob's story points a way to grace and redemption.

My Thoughts:
I’ve know anyone who was argued out of homosexuality, but I’ve seen them loved out.” (p. 198)

This is the most brutally honest testimony regarding a Christian’s choice to enter the gay lifestyle, and how, through the love an infinite patience and accountability, was delivered out of it.  This lifestyle choice has been one of the most destructive, divisive tool in the enemy’s arsenal.  It strikes at the heart of the most intimate familial relationships, and only by God’s grace and a LOT of hard work, can any of the relational damage be healed and whole again.

Bob Fife’s testimony is not an easy read.  God has placed people in my life over the last five years that are struggling against the bondage of the choice to live the homosexual lifestyle.  I can certainly testify that people who have made that choice for themselves are super sensitive about any type of love and friendship offered to them – it’s like they can’t understand it, because EVERYTHING is filtered through the lens of sexuality. 

To read Bob’s testimony was both heartbreaking and enlightening.  I understand some things better than I did before – mainly how important it is to love people with the love I’ve been shown by Christ!  His love is the ONLY thing that has the power to effect change in any life!!


I’m going to re-read this book for even deeper understanding.  I’m grateful that God is using Bob Fife to reach a community of people who need to hear the truth of God’s transforming love.  I know his story has challenged me again to love people better and truer as I go forward in life.

About the Author:

Bob Fife is an Ontario based business man and a former practicing homosexual. Today he devotes his time to mentoring men and women who are looking for alternative ways to deal with same-sex attraction.

Tuesday, November 22, 2016

Shadow of the Storm by Connilyn Cossette - REVIEWED


About the Book:

In the darkness of the storm's shadow, only truth can light her way. 
Having escaped Egypt with the other Hebrews during the Exodus, Shira is now living in freedom at the foot of Mount Sinai. When the people rebel by worshipping a golden idol, the ensuing chaos gives Shira an unexpected opportunity to assist a midwife. When the experience awakens a new desire in her, she defies her mother's wish for her to continue in the family weaving trade and pursues her heart's calling as an apprentice midwife. 

But when a delivery goes horribly wrong, Shira finds herself in an impossible situation and bound to a man who betrayed her. As contention between the Hebrew tribes and the foreigners fans the flames of another dangerous rebellion, Shira comes face to face with the long-hidden pain of her past. Can she let go of all that has defined her to embrace who she truly is and believe in a hopeful future?

My Thoughts:
Quit fighting the hands that are trying to heal you.” (p. 258)

Shira is quite a fighter.  She struggles to accept any good gift, from anyone – God included.  Sadly, I found myself identifying with much of her character.  She senses her gifts and calling, but she struggles to embrace them and use them to bless others.  I greatly enjoyed getting to know this woman and watch her grow and change throughout the novel.

Shadow of the Storm takes the reader into the heart of the Israelite's journey to the promised land.  Readers will experience every smell, sight and sound of life lived at the foot of Mt. Sinai.  Truly, this is a gritty reality, but it is one that shows God’s holiness, righteous anger, and His grace.  Cossette is a master and weaving God’s grace and mercy into this beautiful story and allowing readers to have their faith challenged and grown as the characters in the novel face many and varied trials.  This has to be some of the best-written biblical fiction I’ve ever read!

Every character is well-developed, the relationships are realistic and flawed, the reality of the life lived following a Holy God through the wilderness is breathtaking in both depth and truth.  Cossette know WHO she is writing about, and this story reflect His majesty, holiness, grace and mercy.  Thank you, Connilyn Cossette for such a beautiful gift!!

I cannot recommend this highly enough!

About the Author:

When she is not homeschooling her two sweet kids (with a full pot of coffee at hand), Connilyn Cossette is scribbling notes on spare paper, mumbling about her imaginary friends, and reading obscure, out-of-print history books. There is nothing she likes better than digging into the rich, ancient world of the Bible and uncovering buried gems of grace that point toward Jesus. Her novel Counted With the Starswon the 2013 Frasier Contest and was a semifinalist in the 2013 ACFW Genesis Contest. Although a Pacific Northwest native, she now lives near Dallas, Texas. Connect with her at www.connilyncossette.com.

Friday, November 18, 2016

Trust My Heart by Carol J. Post - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Grant McAllister arrives in Murphy, North Carolina, with one aim: to sell his inherited property and leave as quickly as possible. The big-city lawyer has no interest in his late, estranged grandparents or the dilapidated mansion he just acquired. After his high-profile divorce, he should be avoiding perky reporters, too. But Jami Carlisle is honest, funny, and undeniably appealing.
After breaking up with her safe-but-smothering boyfriend, Jami is determined to ace her first big assignment. A story about the McAllister estate is too intriguing to ignore—much like its handsome, commitment-phobic heir. Thanks to her digging, the pieces of Grant’s fraught family history are gradually fitting into place, but also upending all his old beliefs.
The two draw closer as they share their dreams, until misread signals and misunderstandings begin to test their trust. But in the unspoiled beauty of the Smoky Mountains, there’s healing and forgiveness to be found. And for Grant, this unplanned detour may be just what’s needed to finally guide him home…
My Thoughts:
Oh Lord, what have I done?” (p.89)

You know, I think both of these characters must have asked this question about a jillion times in this novel – in different ways and in different circumstances to be sure, but this question sums up a lot of the uncertainty that seems to follow the two main characters through life.

Grant McAllister and Jami Carlisle meet through rather random circumstances, and it is Jami’s dogged determination that finally breaks the stone cold barrier that Grant and his past have erected between them.  It is also her journalistic determination that uncovers hidden secrets about Grant’s past that threaten to make him totally inaccessible to her on a very permanent basis.  Bothe of these characters come with baggage – some theirs, some caused by others.  Slowly, ever so slowly the allow the other to reach beyond their protective boundaries and allow a relationship to develop.

This is a pretty realistically dysfunctional bunch of folks that Post creates to tell her story.  I guess it is my skepticism surfacing, but these two have so many behaviors that seem to be the antithesis of any healthy relationship that I have a hard time believing that “love conquers all.”   That’s not to say that they didn’t have their problems connecting and allowing a relationship to form, but I just keep saying to myself, “yeah, right.”  But that’s just me and my own past responding to romance in general.
This is a very realistic relational book, and promises to be a great start to a series of books.  If you enjoy realistic romance, this a book you will enjoy!

About the Author:
From medical secretary to court reporter to property manager to owner of a special-events decorating company, Carol J. Post's résumé reads as if she hasn't yet decided what she wants to be when she grows up. But one thing that has remained constant through the years is her love of writing. She started as a child composing poetry for family and friends, then graduated to articles for religious and children's publications. Now she pens fun, fast-paced inspirational romance and romantic suspense stories. Her books have been nominated for an RT Reviewers' Choice Best Book award and selected as an RT Top Pick. When Carol isn't writing, she enjoys sailing, hiking, camping---almost anything outdoors. She also plays the piano and sings with her music-minister husband. Their two grown daughters and their grandkids live too far away for her liking, so she now pours all her nurturing into taking care of a fat and sassy black cat and a highly spoiled dachshund.
Follow her on her website, facebook, twitter

Monday, November 14, 2016

End of the Roadie by Elizabeth Flynn - REVIEWED


About the Book:
Brendan Phelan, rock star, is playing in a stage show that includes guns and whips. As it reaches its climax, a shot rings out—but it's not part of the show. The body of Oliver Joplin, one of the road crew, lies lifeless outside the stage door. 

Detective Inspector Angela Costello and her team investigate, but they quickly discover that several stage hands, and Phelan himself, are adept with firearms—and that Joplin was widely disliked and distrusted. So why had Phelan kept him on, despite the reservations of his crew? Joplin's emails reveal the presence of a shadowy figure stalking the dead man. Who might profit from Joplin's death? 

Little by little, Costello unpicks the web of lies. But unless one key person opens up, she can't crack the case. And that is not going to happen. 

My Thoughts:
It would remain their little secret.”  (p. 295)

Although this quoted has nothing much to do with the murder solved in this novel (well, except that it is a remembrance of one of the lighter moments), I thought it appropriately represented almost everyone in the novel!  There were so many layers of secrets – so many YEARS of secrets – that many characters in this story were living very enslaved lives!  It’s sad to think that some of them decided that the only way out of the mess they’d made was to take someone’s life. 

Well, sadly, that is an all-to-common theme in every area of life in this day and age.  This book intrigued me because it was set in England.  I love all of the idioms of their language, and enjoy trying to decipher some of their meaning.  I enjoyed getting to know Detective Inspector Angela Costello and her co-workers as their brainstormed their way through this murder mystery!  They are a very eclectic group with a diverse taste in all of life.  The roadie whose murder must be solved, is at the center of many layers of deception, greed and desperation.  I never failed to be amazed at the things folks perceive to be an injustice thrust upon them – always justified in the depths of their own depravity.

This is a great beginning to what promises to be a series of cozy mysteries. (well, by my definition anyway) There is some very mild language, but it is not gratuitous in any way. You will enjoy getting to know the characters, and you will feel their sense of satisfaction when they catch the criminal at the end of the novel.  I am happy to have discovered this author!

About the Author:
A former actress and radio journalist, Elizabeth Flynn is currently bereavement officer in a London hospital. This is her first novel.

Monday, November 7, 2016

America at the Crossroads by George Barna - REVIEWED

About the book:
American culture is changing faster than ever. George Barna tells you how, why, and what you can do to shape your future.
We live in a tumultuous time. Upheavals and reversals in culture, popular opinion, morality, race relations, socioeconomic status, and so much more have entire generations feeling off balance or out of touch. How do we keep pace with the breathtaking rate of change in our society when we can hardly find time to keep up with our racing newsfeeds? And in the face of such enormous cultural forces, is there anything we can do?

With America at the Crossroads, bestselling author and cultural analyst George Barna turns his researcher's eye to the most significant trends, compiling and distilling salient information for busy readers who want to shape culture rather than allow it to shape them. 

If you've felt overwhelmed by our swiftly changing times, Barna's extensive research and "bottom-line" approach will help give you the solid ground you're looking for--and show you where we're heading next.

My Thoughts:

What can you do? – hinges on your willingness to become the person God created you to be in order to have the influence He has granted you for such a time as this.”  (p. 182)

This book was the most difficult to read, because Barna presents a statistical look into America’s very real, very frightening crossroad.  Unless God’s people stop believing the lie of the enemy and start believing that God has given us both purpose and the power to accomplish that purpose, we will never step fully into our sphere of influence and transform America.

We sit on the eve of a presidential election, and I’ve cried out to God to have mercy on our country.  And I believe He will.  Even if a traitor sits in the Whitehouse.  After reading this book, it is no mystery that such a thing can happen in the greatest nation on earth.  Choices have consequences, and our country has consistently made wrong choices.  God gave us the ability to choose, and he has given us ample opportunities to choose to follow Him.  Instead, we are buried beneath indifference, or sidetracked by our own personal circumstances, and we’ve believed the lie that God isn’t interested in what happens to us.


HE IS VERY INTERESTED!!! He created us, and gifted us with influence and purpose to influence those in our live for HIM!!  This is a very, very important book, and I apologize for not posting my review sooner. The timing of this post is a God-appointment for me.  Reading this book will change the landscape of your heart!!  I HIGHLY RECOMMEND IT!!!

About the Author:

George Barna is the award-winning author of more than fifty books, including bestsellers such as RevolutionThe Power of VisionThe Frog in the Kettle, and Transforming Children into Spiritual Champions. He is also founder of Barna Group, a leading research firm that specializes in faith-related surveys. He currently leads the American Culture & Faith Institute, which studies and influences faith and politics, as well as Metaformation, an organization designed to help people maximize their potential. George has led several churches and lives with his family on the central California coast.